Our Mountains

Journeys to New Zealand's High Places

Our Mountains is a collaborative project with author Paul Hersey. The book highlights 15 mountains that Paul and I considered to be among the most notable for New Zealanders. The chapters explore the chosen mountains, from the diminutive Mt Eden to the Cloud Piercer – Aoraki Mount Cook, via different aspects; focussing mostly on their place in Kiwi society and their overriding presence among our landscape. Many different aspects are covered including recreation, conservation, farming and what it’s like to live beneath them.

Shooting the photography for this book was the focus for most of 2012 and the early part of 2013 for me, and for the same period of time author Paul Hersey was engaged with the research and writing.

During the 15 months I spent photographing these mountains, I climbed (well, some of them are walks…) all 15 mountains, which was an incredibly satisfying challenge in its own right. Many of these summits were firsts for me, and some were revisits. In the case of Aoraki Mount Cook my previous ascent was over 20 years earlier so it was a special experience to return.

Our Mountains is published by New Holland.

Read more about Our Mountains.

Publisher’s Blurb

Mountains have a place in the consciousness of all New Zealanders; there are not many places in the country without a jagged range, a group of hills or towering peak to frame the view. Our mountains act as reassuring landmarks for the traveller, and many of our creation stories are conjured from their presence on the landscape. 

For dedicated climbers Paul Hersey and Mark Watson the mountains have been an inspiration. Author and photographer respectively, these two men embarked on a year-long journey to identify the stories surrounding the summits of this land, to seek out the people who live near the mountains, to experience each unique sense of place, from Manaia in the far north, to Mount Anglem/Hananui in Stewart Island and a further thirteen peaks in between. In doing so, they have created a fascinating portrait of a natural environment that deserves to be treasured by all New Zealanders for the generations that follow.